Vodafone Idea moved to soothe relations with the Indian government, indicating it will attempt to pay another INR35 billion ($473 million) in dues this week after the head of Vodafone Group met with officials who explained relief measures for the sector are being explored, The Economic Times (ET) reported.
Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone Group (pictured), held separate discussions on 6 March with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and telecoms minister Ravi Shankar, who said the government doesn’t want to see further consolidation in the industry and would like to see Vodafone Idea survive to ensure sufficient competition, the newspaper wrote.
Read asked for government assistance to allow the operator to stay in business.
On the same day, Vodafone Idea submitted a self-assessment of its liabilities to the government, with the company claiming it owes less than half the amount demanded by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
In a stock exchange filing, the operator said its adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues total INR215 billion, including a principal of INR68.5 billion for the period from fiscal 2006/2007 to fiscal 2018/19 and interest up to February 2020.
The DoT ordered the operator to pay INR530 billion following a Supreme Court ruling over the definition of AGR. In late February, it also asked operators to calculate what they owe.
Vodafone Idea, the second-largest operator in the country by subscribers, paid INR35 billion on 20 February. A second payment of INR35 billion would cover the amount of the principle due, which is what the government insists it pays immediately, ET said.
In late February, the operator appealed to the government for more time to pay, warning it could go out of business.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back